Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Now that the Christmas Dinner is done, you still have family staying over and you are exhausted. What will you do with the leftovers? What will you serve for Breakfast the next day? Make a strata! You can add parts of your Christmas dinner right into the mix. Here’s a Christmas gift to you, an easy strata recipe for the day after Christmas. This recipe is mix and match, so don't stress if you are missing an ingredient or two. Play and enjoy.

Mini Strata

Loaf pan (Pyrex if you have it)
1 roll Ciabatta or French or Italian bread
5 eggs
¼ cup milk
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
Dash of fresh Rosemary or Basil
3/4 cup cheese
½ cup broccoli, green beans, or asparagus
½ cup diced tomatoes
½ cup of cooked Turkey or Ham

Cut up bread into cubes to line the bottom of loaf pan.
Pour ½ cup of cheese over bread.
Add cooked Turkey or Ham
Mix up eggs, milk, salt and pepper, maybe fresh Rosemary or Basil.
Pour mixture over bread and cheese and meat.
Pour on veggies.
Cover with remaining cheese.
Refrigerate 2-24 hours.
Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Making pizza at home is easy, fun, and less expensive than eating out or ordering in, for convenience many supermarkets carry fresh pizza dough or pick up some dough from your favorite pizza parlor. I like fresh dough because it is more flexible and tastes better.

Try this recipe for a different pizza. Spread the dough and cover with your favorite barbecue sauce (bottled is fine), now covers sauce with a mixture of cheeses; mozzarella, cheddar and Monterrey work well. Top it off with sautéed onions, peppers and some shredded cooked chicken seasoned with cumin and chili powder. I like to serve some coleslaw on the side to garnish the pizza with a cool crunch. Brush your pizza pan with a little olive oil and sprinkle some corn meal on it for a crisper crust. Notice I give no real measurements on ingredients because this recipe is only a suggestion and guide. Bake at 425-450 degrees for about 20 minutes. You might want to add the chicken during the last 5 minutes to avoid overcooking it. Now enjoy!

Good - Better - Best

Mother of Food and I were out playing video poker the other night at the Tuscany Suites & Casino when we decided to take a dinner break. Our choice for the evening was the Cantina Mexican Restaurant. We eat there frequently and find the food consistently tasty. As soon as your seated one of the friendly staff brings you a warm bowl of chips and three different dips - salsa, Pico de Gallo and an addictive warm bean dip. All dinners are served with Mexican rice and refried beans. Our entrees that evening were Pollo Boracho, a grilled chicken breast, sautéed with rosemary garlic sauce and topped with cactus and cheese and Camarones Ranchero, shrimp sautéed with bell peppers, onions and ranchero sauce.

If your in the mood for good Mexican food at reasonable prices the Cantina would be a good value, and if you have a 2 for 1 coupon an even better value, and if you can pay the rest with comps, that is the best deal of all.

Location - 5 minutes east of strip on Flamingo Blvd.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Phoenicia Restaurant

The other night I was taken to a new restaurant in Glendale, well sort of a new restaurant. Apparently the Phonecia Restaurant had been in Glendale on the same corner of Central and Lexington years and years ago. Phonecia serves traditional Lebanese Food. We were greeted very warmly by the staff and sat in the fairly empty, but elegant dining room. There is a tented area outside where it seemed like more of the action was and the restaurant seemed to get busier as the evening progressed.

My husband and I shared the "Arz" meal for two. This combination included just about every Middle Eastern favorite of ours, hummus, falafel, kebabs, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, rice, salad, stuffed grape leaves, rice, a never ending basket of warm pita, and other dishes I had never tried before and couldn't name. There was a tremendous amount of food that the two of us, our two children, and the two adults with us (who had their own entrees) could not even come close to finishing.

Based on this visit, I would recommend Phonecia. I am sure I will go back for more.

Phoenicia Restaurant
343 N Central Ave
Glendale, CA 91203

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Recipe for Yogurt

Since some of the readers may not read our comments, I am going to post Son of Food's comment from the last post including a recipe for yogurt here:

The white cups are totally unnecessary. I still have the old Salton yogurt maker, but it's in storage. You can make it in any kind of container that's handy, as long as you can keep it warm.

Scald about a quart of milk (about 6-8 min. in the microwave or just short of boiling on the stove, when you see bubbles forming around the edge of the pot). Let it cool to about 95 degrees F (use an instant read thermometer) and add about two heaping tablespoons of yogurt, stir, and keep it warm for about 8 hours.

The old yogurt maker with the white cups kept it warm automatically. Lately I just wrap the container in a towel and leave it over the gas pilot on our stove. On a hot day, you can just wrap it in a towel. Another alternative is to put it in the microwave for about 30 sec. every couple of hours.

A Food Memory

Translucent white cups cook slowly, evenly, mysteriously multiplying bacteria in the corner of our kitchen. This bacteria is good bacteria, we want it to reproduce. Soon the white cups will fill to the top with slippery white gelled liquid to which we will add fruit or preserves. From when he was a young man, in High School or earlier, maybe Middle School, my Brother made his own Yogurt. At the time I thought the practice was an odd hobby, maybe something my Brother did to help save money on the grocery bill or as an investigative chemistry experiment. We ate this homemade yogurt a lot. It was good. As we moved on with life... he went to college, I went to college... soon we were separated by time, an entire continent, and an ocean of mediocre yogurt. Battling weight, I lived off of low fat dreck for years. The plastic sheen of pastel pink and yellow cultures engulfed damaged, dye infused, soggy fruits. It doesn't compare. I miss the old yogurt, the yogurt from those white cups.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What does Grandson of Food eat?

Okay, okay, Father of Food and Family of Food, I’ll write for the ‘blog, but only if I can include pictures. I like to make pictures, and I like to make food, so maybe I’ll make my own little food photo diary within the Family of Food ‘blog.

“What does Grandson of Food eat at the age of one year?”--you may wonder. I thought this would be an easy way into this ‘blog thing. Fortunately he’s not hard to cook for. He likes the same kinds of simple, fresh foods that we like. Sometimes he eats organic baby food from a jar, as long as it isn’t something trying to be more than it is while being blander than what it’s trying to be. One night we were having pasta and a tomato sauce with a friend, so we offered him some baby food pasta, and he was quickly bored with it. We added a little sauce from our pasta, though, and he ate it right up, so within reason, we don’t worry about “too spicy” anymore.

For breakfast he sometimes has yogurt or we make him pureed fruit like pears or applesauce. He doesn’t like apples that are too tart, but he loves aromatic apples, like Ida Reds or Galas. One night when he was upset and crying, I just gave him an apple to hold, and he was so happy. He would have bit into it, if he had more teeth. I just quarter them and steam them in a pot with a little water for about 10-20 minutes peels, cores, stems and all. The peels give the fruit a little more flavor and a reddish color. Then I put them through this KitchenAid fruit and vegetable strainer that purees the fruit and separates out the stems, seeds, and peels, and that’s it. Nothing could be simpler.

Once I brought Grandson of Food along to watch me make the applesauce, but he was afraid of the cylinder of waste peels and stems coming out the end of the strainer cone, so for now he doesn’t watch.

You could do it without the fancy stand mixer attachment, just using a food mill or a potato ricer, but the KitchenAid saves the tasks of peeling and coring by separating the waste. For larger quantities, they also offer a bigger food tray that slides over the grinder attachment to make things even easier.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sweets for Dinner

It's 4:40 in the morning. I've been up for a while. One cupcake, two cookies, chex mix, two spiked hot chocolates, and a glass of wine do not make for a pleasant evening. Tummy aching holidays.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Hammy Hanukkah or (Chanukah)

Last week one of the great gourmet markets in NYC - Balducci's offered a sale on delicious Chanukah hams. When the mistake was discovered (Jews don’t eat pork products unless it's Chinese or BBQ)). It was rumored that Balducci's offered those offended an invitation to a free brunch on Yom Kippur day.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Amy Sedaris + Food + Crafts

If you're crafty, and I know some of the Family of Food readers are, check out Amy Seadaris' Craft Challange. This contest makes sure every food has a face.

Put Googly eyes on your favorite foods and enter them in the contest. You may win a signed copy of Amy's book "I Like You", which I have and love, and a fake cake handmade to order from Amy.

Happy Food Crafting!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

It's Latke Time!

The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is here and along with the candles and the dreidles come Latkes. Latkes are a potato pancake fried in oil to celebrate the miracle of the oil that kept the lights burning for 8 days in the Holy Temple.

My Mother in Law told me that her family used to have a traditional German meal of Potato Latkes for the Christian Holiday of Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The way she described those potato latkes was just like the way good Hanukkah latkes are made.

The cultures of humanity are intertwined in so many ways. People are always looking for the differences in each other, but we are so much the same. Let us celebrate this holiday season by remembering that we are all family. Let us celebrate with a potato.

Classic Potato Latkes


1 – 1½ pounds potatoes, cleaned and peeled.
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 medium onion, finely grated
Salt and black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying


Grate potatoes into long strips, over a large bowl of cold water. Transfer grated potatoes from water into another bowl. Pour off water from first bowl, reserving potato schmutz (residue). Add residue to potatoes.
Add eggs and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste (but don’t actually taste it because it has raw eggs). Mix well by hand.
Fill a large heavy-bottomed frying pan with about 1/2 inch of oil and heat until very hot, about 385 degrees.
Drop about 5 or 6 heaping spoonfuls of potato mixture into the frying pan. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn latkes over, and cook on the other side until golden brown, about another 3 minutes.

Serve with Applesauce and Sour Cream.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Food's the Thing

I've put off reviewing this place because of one bad experience with a waiter, but I keep going back, so I think I should tell you about this restaurant called DISH.

Usually, we have a lovely time at Dish. The atmosphere is very warm and inviting, most of the waitstaff is very kind, and the food is always great. Home style American cooking is the Dish specialty. Brunch on the weekend is pretty crowded, and reflects the popularity of dishes like "Cornmeal Johnnycakes" or "Havarti Cheese, Asparagus, and Tomato Omelette", both of which I have had and loved. A lunch or dinner might include "Old School Cobb Salad", "Applewood-Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger", or "Cider-Braised Beef Brisket", quality classic American Fare. Dish serves up big plates of thoughtful and delicious comfort food. One bad experience with one bad waiter won't keep me away. You see, the food's the thing.

734 Foothill Blvd,
La Canada, CA 91001
(818) 790-5355

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving, the Gorgefest that is an American Tradition.

This year several little ones have brought together a fresh configuration of family members that are usually scattered to the winds. The gathering was a treat and the wee ones, a joy. The meal was strong on the traditional with a bit of adventure, too. For the first time, we had a Heritage Turkey, a bird much closer to those found in Pilgrim times than the ones we buy at the supermarket today. I found this turkey to be really tender and juicy. The meat was served with a cognac reduction sauce which complimented the poultry completely. This was the best part of the meal for me. It took a lot of will power to keep from taking a second helping. I tried to be modest in my gluttony this Thanksgiving. A Sweet Potato Soufflé in individual ramekins and an excellent Mushroom Dressing stood out as pleasant twists on the standard dishes.

For my part, I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake, another slight deviation from the regular fare. Never having made any kind of a Cheesecake before, I was pretty pleased with the results. Here are two things I learned about Cheesecake that you may be interested in; one cheesecake is made of entirely too much cream cheese, and two, cheesecake can be sliced with dental floss – preferably not mint.

Topped off with some exceptional wine (Sea Smoke), this Thanksgiving was superb. I hope a meal this good becomes a long standing tradition.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Patio dining on the Strip

October in Las Vegas is my favorite month. The sky is blue with lots of sun and the days are in the mid 70’s. It was such a day that I was running around town with Mother of Food doing errands and shopping. MoF suggested that when we stop for lunch, it should be outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Because we had some shopping to do at the Fashion Show Mall I suggested the restaurant Stripburger. Located on the northeast corner of the mall, we would have a view of the Frontier (soon to be imploded), Trump and Wynn plus people walking the strip. Stripburger is completely outside and very casual and can be entered from the strip. Since we were shopping inside we were told the easiest way might be to go thru Cafe Ba Ba Reba - same owners. The hostess at the cafe suggested it might be easier for us to eat on the patio at Cafe Ba Ba Reba (less walking) and she would bring us the Stripburger menu. This was a good suggestion because now I could look at two menus.

The Stipburger serves burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads and fries and onion strings. It’s bar serves huge drinks (32-oz. raspberry mojito); beer and soda shop shakes to add shots of Kahlua. Cafe “B’’ is a tapas bar and restaurant with both indoor and outside seating. The patio is directly across from Wynn with great strip views. We looked at both menus and decided to order one item from each. A burger with blue cheese and those onion strings on top, and a Spanish pizza. The burger was good but the pizza was the highlight of the meal. At first I was a little hesitant about ordering a pizza that didn’t have pepperoni and sausage on it and since when does Spain make pizzas. This pizza had a thin crisp crust covered with baby spinach, raisins, pine nuts and a little Manchego cheese; and it was delicious! The menu has a great variety of big and little dishes, pitchers of Sangria and fabulous sounding desserts. I am going to stop now but look forward to returning to the Cafe Ba Ba Reeba and doing a more comprehensive review.

Location - Fashion Show Mall on the Las Vegas Strip

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Food as Art

Do you like Plush toys that look like food? Family of Food does!
Stuffed a Plush Food Show is Nov. 15th, 2007 at Munky King on Melrose.
Since this is an event, I am not putting it on the Food as Art List, but it is definitely Food as Art. Here is a link to the Munky King website:
Munky King Show

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Treasure Trove of Cooking Shows

I was doing some exploring this morning and found a treasure trove of cooking videos on Youtube. Youtube allows anyone to upload content, so you can find many unusual sources of cooking related entertainment, that you may not be able to find at the video store or on TV. I will try and highlight a video from time to time on this site. The first one I will bring you is a recipe for Nann, a traditional Indian Bread from Manjula's Kitchen.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Deli Experience Continued

It's fitting that the first Cleveland restaurant to make the Family of Food Map is Corky and Lenny's. Our whole family relied heavily upon the arts of this deli and restaurant when we lived on the East side of Cleveland and I'm sure those that still live in town still do. Whenever my grandfather would take me to Corky's he would buy a bar of Halavah for us to split on the way out. I don't love Halavah as a Candy, but sometimes when I go to Canter's in Los Angeles, I see Halavah on the counter on the way out and want to buy it for my Grandpa.

Canter's Los Angeles is also now on the map. As you can see from the previous post, my Dad loves this place. Many a late night Husband of Food and I would grab a Reuben and some Blintzes or Kugel in this Fairfax Deli. So close to Hollywood, we would often see a star or two. Now we live in the San Fernando Valley and we rarely get over the hill for a sandwich. Maybe we'll take the trip. It's worth it.

Corky & Lenny's

27091 Chagrin Blvd
Beachwood, OH 44122
(216) 464-3838

Canter's Fairfax Restaurant

419 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 651-2030

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Deli Experience

In recent years I have cut back on deli foods (corn beef, pastrami, chopped liver, knishes with gravy and even brisket) for health reasons. So when I break down and decide to have some deli, I want the whole megellah (full experience). All of my senses should be engaged. I love the enticing aroma of garlic dill pickles, smell the hanging salamis as I walk past the meat counter. I check out all the pastries for dessert or to take home after the meal. A good deli has a hostess to seat you. She will tell you to wait whether the dining room is empty or full. No matter how busy the restaurant is, you will hear chatter. Noise is part of the deli atmosphere and so are the waiters and waitresses. My favorite waitress was named Goldie, she was like my mother , telling me what to eat and scolding me if I didn't finish it. Of course the food is paramount, it's why we're there in the first place. Great delicatessens have huge menus with everything from breakfast to dinner and dessert. Sandwiches are overstuffed served on freshly baked rye bread, pumpernickel or kaiser roles. G-d forbid you should order corn beef or pastrami on white bread with mayo from Goldie. She probably would throw you out! Deli's are not romantic settings, but sharing a Reuben sandwich and a peace of cheesecake is real love.

Canter's in L.A. on Fairfax delivers the real deli experience. So when they opened a branch here
in Las Vegas at Treasure Island I was excited. Major disappointment!!! The design is somewhere between an airport lobby and a doctor's waiting room. The whole operation is efficient and almost maintenance free. You stand in line to order from a limited menu and they give you a number. They do bring your food to you. It is served on plastic disposable plates with plastic tableware. The tables are stainless steel and some of the ceiling fixtures look like they came from a Starwars movie. The room is cold (no global warmth here). The good news is the sandwiches are good but I miss the full deli experience.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thanksgiving - common problems - simple solutions

You know that you have more requests for white meat than dark and would like to have beautiful slices of turkey breast to serve when you bring out the platter
Make a turkey breast the day before. Refrigerate overnight and it will be very easy to slice. Warm in oven after other turkey is out and resting.

Should you cook stuffing inside the turkey?
Most professional chefs don't. Some feel there could be health concerns. The bird's cooking times will vary. They cook the stuffing separately where they have more control and usually warm it just before serving. Instead stuff the turkey with chopped aromatic vegetables ( onions, celery, carrots) maybe some garlic cloves even things like cut up lemons and oranges.

How do I cut calories or make the dishes lighter? Some people seem to always be on a diet. How do I satisfy these people?
Forget about it! Let them diet on the other 364 day's.

Halloween with the Kiddies

Our one year old twins are too small to eat candy, but we wanted them to enjoy the Halloween festivities going on in our neighborhood. We dressed them in their costumes, a dragon and a monkey, and answered the door for the trick or treaters. They really loved seeing all of those kids. When we would close the door after giving the candy, the babies would want to open the door back up to go out with the other kids. We did venture out to one house, our next door neighbor's, mostly to check out his elaborate decorations. We refused the candy for the girls, but the givers insisted. So, Mom and Dad were each treated to a snack sized candy, which we promptly traded with each other. The girls had a great time, even without the candy. This goes against the Family of Food creed, but I'll say it anyway; sometimes, food isn't everything.

Monday, October 29, 2007


One of the biggest advantages of getting older is having more memories. One of my fondest memories of my childhood was Halloween trick or treating. Times were different then. We would actually go from house to house in groups, with usually no adult supervision. No need to, the neighborhoods were full of kids and parents were standing at their doors passing out candies and all of the porch lights were on. I would meet with my buddies and we would go up and down the streets begging for goodies. Almost no one wore a commercially made costume, certainly none of my gang. Costumes were homemade; a little coal on your face, some old clothes and you were a hobo. Put a sheet over you and now you're a ghost. We didn't carry any little cutesy pumpkins, we hauled big shopping bags. Trick or treating then was a two day affair. Halloween eve and Halloween night. Darkness didn't stop us but the unofficial rule was no knocking on doors after nine.

The treats were great and the best houses gave out homemade cupcakes, brownies and chocolate chip cookies sometimes still warm. Today if you give a kid something that was not hermetically sealed you probably would get a visit from homeland security. I remember the candy corn, candy bars (Oh Henry was my favorite) and gum. The cheapies gave you a stick of gum while the big spenders let you have the whole pack. Sometimes people actually would throw coins into our bags. In those days you could actually buy things for a penny! Some nights the pickings were so good that you would have to go home and unload. and then go back out. The best part - trading something you didn't like for something you wanted. Yep getting old, talking about the good old days.

Location - Ohio .... late forties early fifties.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Birthday Duck

The Babies turned one. I made them a duck shaped cake born out of a pound cake and banana bread recipe combined. It was tasty and duck shaped, what more could a one year old want? What more could two one year olds want? We let them at it unencumbered by spoons, bibs, or reasonable portion sizes. So much mess was never more happily made.

Banana Duck Cake

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound (2cups) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
3 sticks butter
2 ripe well mashed bananas
1/2 cup milk set out for a half hour with ½ TBSP white vinegar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

Need: One Duck Cake Pan (I got mine at Michaels)

Sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder
into a large mixing bowl.
Stir in sugar and salt with a large spoon.
Next add the butter, melted partially in the microwave or softened at room temperature.
Mix in the mashed bananas.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Mix with mixer or beater on slow.
Slowly add the vinegar-milk, and then the
vanilla extract.
After it is thoroughly stirred, turn the mixer up to medium for a few minutes,
and then mix on high.
If the mixture is a little thick, add just a touch more milk.
If you don't mix things thoroughly you will have lumps that will
form air bubbles in your mixture and leave holes
in your finished cake

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Take your Duck cake pan and thoroughly oil it with
butter, pam, or shortning. Just make sure it’s greased up in all the nooks and crannies.
Then lightly flour the oiled pan.
Shake the excess flour from the pan.

Pour 5 and ½ cups of cake batter into the bottom half of the Duck pan (the part without the small hole). Fill it to the brim.
Snap the top part of the cake mold on top and tie it to the bottom with cooking twine or string (I used something left over from Thanksgiving). This will keep the mold together when the cake rises.
Put any leftover batter in a greased and floured cupcake pan.
Bake the cake for one hour and twenty minutes.
Check your cake to see if it’s done, especially during the last 20 minutes.
When you think it is done, stick a wooden toothpick into the hole in the top part of the cake mold. If it's dry when you pull it out,
the cake is done.

Allow the cake to cool 5-10 minutes in both sides of the pan.
Gently take the top part of the mold off and set aside.
Let cool another 5-10 minutes and then place the top part of the mold back on and
Turn cake over gently to get it unstuck from the other side.
Let cool thoroughly for about 3-4 hours with both sides of pan on the cake.
Put cake in mold upright on a decorative plate (I just covered a plain plate in foil) and remove each side of the mold carefully.
Hopefully your duck will stand upright.

Decorate with frosting and love.

Friday, October 19, 2007

True Confessions

They call me Father, but I wear no white collar or have a halo over my head. However when I lived in Miami, Florida during the mid seventies I was introduced to two lovely dishes. One was cool and sweet named stone crabs and the other tart and tasty called key lime pie. This romance began on Miami Beach at the legendary restaurant Joe's Stone Crabs and grew stronger through the years. After I moved away from Florida, stone crab claws were not easy to come by and the key lime pie I tasted was a weak imitation of Joe's recipe made with real key limes. In recent years thanks to Fedex overnight delivery, people could order directly key lime pie and stone crab claws from Joe's. A few years ago Joe's formed a partnership with the "Lettuce Entertain You" group and "Icon". Restaurants were opened in "the windy city' Chicago and "sin city" Las Vegas.

The restaurants are called Joe's Seafood, Prime Steaks and Stone Crabs. The Las Vegas location is in the Forum Shops at Caesers where there is convenient valet parking. The main dining room has a club like atmosphere where you will be expertly served by a tuxedo clad waitstaff. There is also a bar/lounge and counter to eat at. They are open for lunch and dinner and reservations are recommended. Everything is ala carte and sides are served family style to be shared.

The menu features fresh seafood flown in daily, prime steaks, chicken and veal.
Some recommendations are:
appetizers - crab and artichoke gratin, oysters Rockefeller
soups and salads - stone crab bisque
entrees - halibut, salmon, grouper
entrees - hand cut steaks, lobster, liver
sides - any potato dish, creamed spinach. fried asparagus
desserts - banana cream pie with foster sauce
And of course stone crabs and key lime pie.
Stone crabs can be eaten hot with melted butter but most people eat them chilled with Joe's signature mustard sauce. (so very, very good)

The last time I bit into their key lime pie I closed my eyes and swore I felt an ocean breeze right here in the middle of the desert. What started as a romance years ago has become a life long affair.

location - Forum Shops at Caesers
telephone - 702-792-9222

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Food for the Soul

Family of Food has been a little bit short on LA restaurant reviews lately, so when pondering the possibilities, I realized that I have never written up one of my favorite valley joints. Chili My Soul is a mecca for the Chili enthusiast. They make over thirty different types of Chili and usually around half are available at any one time. No matter what your Chili tastes are, they probably make one you'll love. They do vegetarian, turkey, meat, chicken, with beans, without, spicy hot, and tenderly mild. How will you ever make up your mind of which Chili to get? They let you sample the chili like you were at the local ice cream shop. One of my favorites is BLANCO Y VERDE a mild chicken chili with a white bean. If you can't choose, they will let you do a "split" putting two flavors side by side. Check it out.

Chili My Soul
4928 Balboa Blvd.
Encino, CA 91316

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Birthday Treat

It's been hard catching up, as Daughter of Food is a busy woman, but I had some time to make these cupcakes for my hubby's birthday. The cupcake was not great, but the lemon curd on top was terrific, so I will share the recipe for that here.

Recipe for Lemon Curd
1/3 cup white sugar
one lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 cup butter

Make a double boiler by selecting a heat resistant bowl (like a Pyrex bowl) that fits onto a saucepan without touching the base.
Put water into the saucepan and the bowl on top of it and simmer gently.
Grate or zest the rind of your lemon, save the lemon for its juice.
Place the sugar and zest of the lemon in the bowl over the simmering water. The sugar will start to caramelize a bit as you do the next step.
In a different bowl put the lemon juice and the 2 eggs. Beat together.
Add to the bowl on the heat, stir. Cut up the butter into cubes and add to the bowl of lemon mixture.
Stir till it all and let the mixture simmer for 20 mins. until it is pretty thick , stir frequently. Cool and use for cupcakes.

Monday, October 8, 2007

diet rules for cheaters (unknown)

If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are cancelled out by the diet soda.
When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you don't eat more than they do.
Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER count, such as hot chocolate, brandy, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake.
If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner.
Movie related foods (Milk Duds, Buttered Popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) do not have additional calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel.
Cookie pieces contain no fat — the process of breaking causes fat leakage.
Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something. Examples are peanut butter on a knife while making a sandwich and ice cream on a spoon while making a sundae.
Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and white chocolate.NOTE: Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color.
Foods that are frozen have no calories because calories are units of heat. Examples are ice cream, frozen pies, and popsicles.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

this ain't your big mac

The cover of the menu reads:

" From "le bouef", "le poulet", "l'agneou', "le saumon","legumes" .
The combinations are endless.

Are we talking beef wellington , chicken kiev, rack of lamb, grilled salmon or a vegetable terrine? No we're talking burgers! These gourmet burgers can be found at LE BURGER BRASSERIE located in Paris Hotel on the promenade next to the entrance to Bally's.The restaurant is a comfortable sports grille with one of the largest TV screens I have ever seen. Some nights there is a DJ or karaoke.

You will find fun appetizers, salads,imaginative deserts and good selection of beers and wine.

But I want to concentrate on the burgers. There is a choice of fresh baked buns along with dozens of toppings to design your own burger.

These are some of the combos suggested on the menu.

Le Paris - a beef burger with brie cheese, grilled onions and smoked bacon on a caramelized bun.
Le Bleu - a beef burger with blue cheese, avocado and bacon on a Parmesan bun
Lamb, chicken, salmon or a veggie burger can can be substituted for beef. Try the lemon aoli sauce on a salmon burger. What is a burger without fries? Choose from shoe string, steak or waffle. The potato orders are meant to be split.

Burger bars are popping up all over the country and many chefs have added a signature burger to their menus. At LE BURGER BRASSERIE the signature burger is called the $777.

$777 Burger - Kobe beef, lobster, brie cheese, crispy prociutto and 100 year old balsemic vinegar. This burger feast is served with a bottle of Rose Dom Pergnon champagne. Why the unusual name - guess.

Friday, September 28, 2007

My Pick for Mandalay

Hi, Daughter of Food here.

I wanted to make my Mandalay Bay restaurant pick known, since this restaurant is actually one of the reasons I started this blog. It's been a long time coming, and I really have to tell you about it, because if you miss this when going to Vegas, you have truly missed out. Great food in Vegas is not hard to find, if you are willing to pay the price, after all, every celebrity chef has a home in this town of gluttony. The thing is that these restaurants are often overpriced and underperforming. There is a notable exception... a place where the chefs are thoughtful about the food, loving even. For years I let this gem pass me by, but no more...

I now know the joy that is Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's Border Grill. The food I have had there was so fresh, so nourishing for both my body and soul that I was inspired to start this blog. It made me hunger to evangelize food that transcends normality. I may be building this up so much that it could never reach the expectation; I am not even sure they could satisfy the memory of my last experience if I went to the Border Grill again.

In my memory, my chicken al carbon, was incredibly tender and perfectly cooked with onions and vegetables. The tortilla was different than other I have had, lighter, more flavorful. As a whole, the dish was like an ideal plate of fajitas. My drink, I forget exactly what it was, but it was one of their signature beverages, with pomegranate. The meal was just delightful. I could not ask for more. My one regret, I have yet to try the Border Grill, right here in town, down in Santa Monica. I've eaten at it's sister restaurant, Ciudad, several times, but not Border. I should flog myself, well, not eating there is probably punishment enough.

24/7 Mandalay Bay

When family and friends are staying on the strip, they usually ask me where to eat? They've done the buffets and some of the high end restaurants and now just want to eat in a more normal way. Since you never know what time you might want to eat and everyone wants something different, I recommend one of the 24/7 cafes in the top hotels. So in the coming weeks I will discuss four of my favorites. The hotels will be Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Venetian and Wynn.

Raffles in Mandalay Bay is a lovely series of rooms with a South Pacific feel. The rooms have marble topped tables and booths, large comfortable chairs, high beamed ceilings and walls of glass looking out at palm trees and and gardens. The service is efficient and friendly.

Although they have seemed to trim the menu in the last year, there is still a good variety of dishes to order. Some breakfast ideas might be Eggs Benedict ( try it with smoked salmon instead of Canadian bacon), Lobster Omelet or build your own omelet. Maybe your in the mood for a salad. How about a Southwestern or Champagne Chicken Salad. Add a soup and two people can share and be full. My favorite is the the Baked Potato Soup ( topped with bacon, chives, cheddar cheese and sour cream). There is a good selection of sandwiches, wraps and burgers.
Pastas and Italian favorites, steaks, ribs, fish and other interesting entrees are available. Finish your meal with some carrot cake or maybe a vanilla creme brulee,then take a walk upstairs at the shops of Mandalay Place or outside in the gardens.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Day of Atonement, Night of Plenty

This weekend I gave up food for one day, Yom Kippur, The Jewish Day of Atonement. Now, if you’ve been following this blog, you know by now, that I love FOOD, so a day without is a rough undertaking at best. I am not going to go on about the difficulties of forgoing sustenance; I just want to set up the joy that is The Breaking of the Fast!

Like the first light-jacket appropriate spring day after a grey down-parka requiring Cleveland winter, the first taste of food after a fast is an event at which you rejoice. At this time, I especially appreciate the Jewish prayer called the HaMotzi, where one gives thanks for bread. I was lucky enough to get an invite to a friend’s post Yom Kippur Dinner, where the each few guests brought some part of the delicious meal. Everything was wonderful, but I want to make mention of a few specific parts of the meal which were outstanding. First, I will give thanks for the bread. It was bakery bread, I believe, but in a town not known for its baked goods, a decent Challah is a blessing of its own. The hostess made her own hummus which was one of the best I have had. I would love the recipe if that friend of food happens to read this post. Then there were two excellent kugels made by that hostess, a cheese square casserole and a shredded potato dish which was addictive. At dessert we had, among other yummy treats, an excellent apple strudel made by a fellow guest. I won’t ask for a recipe for this one, just more strudel. As for my part, I brought a selection of desserts including one of my favorites, “The Cleveland Bar” from Solley’s in Sherman Oaks. Funny thing… I’m from Cleveland and when I first saw this treat in the deli case at Solly’s years ago, I asked if I could get one of those “Coconut Bars” in the case. “Coconut Bars” are what they are called in Cleveland. They had no idea what I was talking about. Now I just ask for the Cleveland Bar to avoid the confusion. Thanks to all who participated and thanks to my hosts who made for a terrific evening.

You can find Cleveland Bars at:
Solly's Deli & Bakery
4578 Van Nuys Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I came across this poem today.


Food, food I love you so, People say go on a diet, but what do they know.

Food, food you make me grow, You are the one on that makes me glow

.Burgers and fries, They are the one that stifles my hunger cries.

Popcorn chicken and buffalo wings, Whenever I see you, with joy my heart sings.

Smoothies and milkshake, They all go great with a nice chocolate cake.

Ice cream and whip cream, Why couldn’t I get you out of my dream?

Food, food I love you so. I will always love you wherever I go.

Food, food you may not know, But in my life, you play the leading role.
Jing Han

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Marzipan Cake

Father in Law of Food is a lover of Marzipan. In honor of his recent birthday I made him a Marzipan Cake. I searched many food blogs until I found a recipe for this cake and then I added a few touches to make it more personalized to Father in Law of Food's personal tastes. Thank-you to Vanessa Frida for listing the recipe. The original can be found here: http://vanessafrida.livejournal.com/164907.html .

My changes were as follows: I used only 14 Tbsp of Marzipan in the batter. I used some more for the decoration as julienned marzipan. I added slivered almonds, for decoration and additional crunch. Lastly, I trimmed the cake with blackberries, a favorite of Father In Law of Food. If I make the cake in the future, I would add a drizzle of amaretto for moisture and added almond taste. The cake was delicious. The batter might tempt one to lick the blades of the cuisinart, but resist for safety. Wait for this terrific cake to come out of the oven.

Monday, September 10, 2007

size matters

Recently I was dining in a seafood restaurant and was ordering some shrimp dishes. I asked the waitress the size of the shrimp. She replied nice size (a non answer). One of the people at the table commented that size shouldn't matter as it was all you can eat. I pointed out that since some of the shrimp dishes were breaded, it could make a big difference. I didn't want to bite into mostly breading and not experience the taste and texture of the shrimp. Depending on how you are preparing certain recipes size definitely matters.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

September is National Food Safety Education Month!

Mother in Law of Food is a School Nurse. She is always telling us about healthy habits like frequent hand washing and excercise. She inspired me to research food safety and I found this:

September is National Food Safety Education Month®. Across the country, food safety experts are reminding consumers that with Foodborne Pathogens: Your Family’s Health is in Your Hands. Follow the Four Steps To Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill to keep food safe from harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Here are some helpful hints for keeping food safe.

Clean! Everything that touches food should be clean. Cleanliness is a major factor in preventing foodborne illness. Even with food safety inspection and monitoring at Federal, State, and local government facilities, the consumer's role is to make sure food is handled safely after it is purchased.

Separate! Fight cross-contamination! Cross-contamination is the transfer of harmful bacteria to food from other foods, cutting boards, and utensils. An example of cross-contamination is cutting raw meat, poultry, or fish on a cutting board and then slicing salad vegetables on the same cutting board without washing the cutting board between uses.

Cook! Use a food thermometer in cooking. Using a food thermometer is the only way to tell if food has reached a high enough temperature to destroy harmful bacteria. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of foods, such as meat, hamburgers, poultry, egg casseroles, and any combination dishes.

Chill! Make sure the temperature in the refrigerator is 40°F or below and 0°F or below in the freezer. Use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer to check the temperature. Harmful bacteria grow most rapidly in the Danger Zone--the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140°F--so it's important to keep food out of this temperature range.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Special thanks to all the readers who have given constructive advice in making this site better. Today I am sending out a special shout out to Friend of Food, Ollie, who suggested making link backs on our map placemarks to the articles that we wrote in the blog. This makes it so that when you click on one of the restaurants listed on the Family of Food Map, you can link back to the article in which that place was mentioned on our blog. Brilliant! This is now implimented. Thanks Ollie.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

basil - pesto

Yesterday I noticed we hadn't picked any basil for a long time and we had an abundance. So I decided to make some pesto. This is a simple recipe I picked up years ago.

2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons of slightly roasted pine nuts
3 cloves of minced garlic
In a food processor with with motor running i put in the garlic, then the pine nuts.
I then add about half the basil and some of the cheese and give it a few pulses.
Then I add the rest of the cheese and basil and a few more pulses.
Now with motor running slowly add the olive oil until the mixture forms a consistency you prefer.
Now you should taste. I felt mine was too garlicky so I added a couple of squeezes of lemon, a slight pinch of sugar and some ( about 8 ) grape tomatoes. Tasted perfecto!
Remember a recipe is a guide. Don't be afraid to make changes or adjust seasonings and or ingredients to meet your own tastes.

Now what to serve the pesto with: While some Barilla cheese tortellini boiled, I put a little olive oil in a pan, added some sliced yellow peppers, a few sliced mushrooms and about 10 of those grape tomatoes and a few grinds of black pepper. As the veggies sauteed I added a little more olive oil (remember mushrooms are like a sponge). Now because I was cooking and eating at home I decided to splurge a little. So I threw in about eight large shrimp to the pan and a little butter to smooth out the sauce. By this time the pasta was ready and I added it to the shrimp and vegetables and then some of the pesto.
The dish was superb. Again remember you could use whatever vegetables you might have on hand. This entire meal could be made in less than twenty minutes.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Saving Money at Costco

For once, I actually saved Money at Costco! No really, I managed to go to Costco, buy food and leave with out spending all of the money I had. Costco is one of these places that you go to with good intentions, "I'll just buy a year's worth of toilet paper and then I'm outta there," and then, you notice, that a huge box of note paper is only $6.99, and that bag of Chex Mix big enough to serve a middle school is on sale for $3.99, and twelve canisters of salt are only $4.99,! Before you know it you've spent three hundred dollars and your pantry is stuffed with enough table salt to clear a Cleveland street in February after the biggest ice storm of the century.

Check this out. I went to buy meat and chicken for the Labor Day Weekend and I walked out pretty much with that. I spent less than sixty-four dollars and bought enough chicken, steak, and turkey burger to last long past the weekend. It was a miracle. The Costco check out clerk said it was the smallest bill of the day. My secret? I bought no beverages and concentrated on mostly unprocessed foods. Oh, and I bought nothing that wasn't food, despite the fact that they had a 320 gig hard drive for only ninety-nine bucks!

I have an unofficial way to check myself when I go grocery shopping. I figure out how many adult dinners (main course only) that I can make out of the food I buy and then divide the total of my bill by that number. Anything less than $10.00 a meal is cheaper than eating out... I live in LA, it's pricey to eat. So if I buy $100 worth of food, and I can make 20 dinners out of it, then my meals are worth about $5.00 each. I think that this Costco trip made(at best guess)26 adult meals consisting of quality meats for about $2.50 a meal. Try it next time you go to Costco and maybe you'll leave with some of your money left in your pocket.

Food News Added

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Barely Controled Chaos

Daughter of Food has held back an important piece of information about her private life which now must be revealed. Daughter of Food has two very small children, twin babies. This adds to the difficulty of eating out, as it means that either she pays $60-$100 for the night of babysitting or she brings the babies with her. Daughter of food is ever the brave adventurer, and is willing to attempt even the most difficult on the baby scale for eating out. Here is a description of Daughter of Food, Husband of Food, Friends of Food and Babies of Food pushing the envelope in the search for a new food experience.

So, the other day, Friend of Food and I, Daughter of Food, decided that it would be loads of fun to try The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant in Pasadena, California. She has a two year old; I have two babies, what could go wrong? We made reservations, four adults and three high chair sitting children for dinner around six o’clock. Now the restaurant was great sitting us in a small room with only two large tables and no other guests to start the meal. As we had never been there before, we hadn't thought of all of the dangers. Hot steamy fondue pots boiling away at the center of the table to burn our hands on, granite table tops to bonk our heads on, numerous knobs and switches at the table's end to turn and play with. This was going to be an adventure. We juggled babies, handled fire, and spun plates like we were on the Ed Sullivan show. Four delicious courses, three fondues, two diaper blowouts, and one incredibly kind waiter later, we were done with dinner. Only the toddler suffered a minor bump on his head while jumping up and down on the booth seat, but it was somewhat expected that we would not come away completely unscathed. The twins loved their chance to sit in real high chairs for the first time and the parents were glad for the chance to eat with others who didn't mind the insanity of young children.

Now for the food... The traditional Gruyere cheese fondue was good, the cheddar was not great, but passable, the "Big Night Out" with the fillet was very good, and the two chocolate fondues (dark and peanut butter) were excellent. We had the meal for three people which was more than enough food for four. With drinks, the meal ran about $50 per person. Again, the service was excellent. Get a babysitter for this one, or take the kids if they are older... They'll love it.

The Melting Pot
88 W. Colorado Blvd., 2nd Floor 91105
Phone: (626) 792-1941

Thursday, August 23, 2007

small plates --- big taste

Do you ever have this dilemma? The menu has so many interesting and appealing dishes you can't make up your mind. You wish you could order several just to taste. Well then a tapas bar or restaurant is the answer to your prayers. Tapas are appetizers, canapes, snacks usually finger food served on small plates. History says this custom was started in Spanish taverns centuries ago and is still going on. Today all over the USA tapas dining is becoming the rage.

My favorite here in Las Vegas is FIREFLY. The restaurant is open for lunch and continues on till the wee small hours of the night. The crowd is mainly groups of singles under the age of thirty five. The tempo really starts to pick up about four in the afternoon as people get off of work. It gets very busy at dinner and lines start to form. There is music in the evenings (Salsa dancing) is Tuesday night and the energy level is very high. There are different rooms including one with very comfortable leather couches and chairs,a bar and also outside patio seating. So why does an alta cocker (senior citizen) like me and my lovely and much younger mother of food come to FIREFLY? The answer is simple... we love it!

The wait staff is excellent; friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. However the real star of the show is the food. These miniature entrees will excite your tastebuds and you will experience each layer or component of every dish. There are over fifty dishes to pick from. You will find chilled, hot, seafood, and meat & poultry tapas. There are great desserts and large or big bowl entrees also.Enjoy dinner with a pitcher of sangria or fine Spanish wine. Let me describe some of my favorite tapas.

Gazpacho (with avocado garnish).
Stuffed dates (bacon-wrapped, smoked almond, red wine reduction, blue cheese).
Firefly fries (parmesan, herbs, aioli).
Spicv beef salad (seared beef, warm dressing, romaine, tomato, cucumber, ginger) think thai
Mushroom tart (puff pastry, borsin cheese).
Firefly fish sticks (fillets of grouper, Japanese breadcrumbs, spicy tartar sauce).
Ahi tuna skewer (mango, basil, mustard-ginger glaze).
Filet mignon sliders ( mini burgers with Serrano ham. cabrales cheese, caramelized onions).
Crispy duck rolls (cherry hoisin sauce).
Empanadas (pastry stuffed w/roast pork, red pepper, w/salad, aioli).
Chocolate cherry bread pudding.

This is only a sampling of the many exciting tapas you will find at FIREFLY. They also offer herb-roasted chicken, paella and steak frites. I would recommend this restaurant for a first date, lots to talk about and nothing more intimate than sharing good food from the same plate.

FIREFLY is located in a small strip on Paradise road that has many other fine restaurants, so parking can be tight. If coming from the strip take a cab - no problem after dinner many cabs waiting. Next door is their sister restaurant Dragonfly " an asian joint". Maybe someday they will open a soul-food restaurant and call it Superfly.

FIREFLY - tapas kitchen and bar
3000 Paradise Rd. Suite A
Las vegas, NV 89109

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Logo

Hi Family of Food fans,

You may have noticed some changes on the page lately. We have added new links, RSS buttons, and logos. Above is a Family of Food Button that you can use if you want to link to our page from yours. Please take it and use it in good health, as Grandma of Food would say.

And if you have any comments or suggestions of how to make the site better, we'd love to hear them.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Breakfast Anyone?

Last week I finally caught one of my favorite breakfast and lunch spots while they were actually open. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten over to Eat and Park in Burbank before two in the afternoon, which is when they close, but I finally managed it. This place has a new modern awning on the outside, but on the inside it’s an old fashioned greasy spoon diner… and that’s the way I like it. I took a couple of friends who said it reminded them of diners in upstate New York. Huge omelets and an unusual potato pancake are two of the reasons I keep coming back to this place. The other reason is the friendly service from a family oriented staff. This is not the place you want to try when you’re on a diet, but when you are hungry, this place will stuff you and the guy next to you for under ten bucks. For all of those readers who log on early on Sunday, they’re open from 6 til 2, go now!

Eat & Park
2517 W Victory Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 953-9302

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


There are many good Mexican restaurants in Las Vegas but LINDO MICHOACAN is my favorite. This family owned (Javier Barajas) colorfully decorated eatery always makes me happy when I dine there. Of course starting with complimentary bean dip and chips and one of their tasty margaritas helps. Pick from a nice selection of botanas (appetizers), all dinners come with soup. The menu is extensive with numerous seafood, steak and chicken dishes. Michoacan is a state in central Mexico and is especially known for its carnitas (a pork specialty). Many of the dishes are family recipes. Corn and flour tortillas are continuously made fresh daily and for a treat have guacamole made table side. For dessert try the Lindo's Flameado... fresh bananas, vanilla ice cream and served on fire. Topped with homemade caramel. LINDO MICHOACAN is open for lunch and dinner and has a Sunday brunch. The restaurant is family friendly, has very good service and does catering. At night there is music.

LINDO MICHOACAN is located at:
2655 East Desert Inn Rd.
Las vegas, Nv. 89121

A Solid Pick

I know you've been waiting, so I'll hold back no more. Before heading off to a lovely anniversary weekend in San Diego, Daughter of Food and Husband went to LA Prime at the Westin Bonaventure in Downtown Los Angeles. LA Prime is a classic steakhouse restaurant with solidly good food and an extraordinary view of downtown from the top of the Bonaventure Hotel.

We were greeted with top notch service by Alex and his partner in our cozy, somewhat private booth. He first brought us an "appeteezer" of fresh crab on cucumber/tomato salad, which was very good. We had a variety of breads, including sweet flavored bread with raisins which seemed out of place and some good seasoned and melted cheese drizzled crackers before the appetizers. Appetizers were delicious lobster bisque and an incredible gruyere and onion tart. By this time we were a bit full, but we soldiered on to a Surf and Turf and Seared Ahi for our main dishes. The Surf and Turf was my husband's, and I know he did not get it served quite at the doneness he asked for, so I will leave it to him to elaborate if he so desires in the comments section. My ahi was fantastic. It was crusted with a thick layer of spices leading to the sensation of eating a perfectly seared steak. I was saddened by the fact that I was so stuffed I could not eat the whole thing (seared ahi doesn't keep well for leftovers).

Afterwards we went down to the rotating bar (just below the restaurant) for a drink and watched the city rotate around us. We were the center of the world for that moment... the two of us.

For the price class, the food at LA Prime is not unusual or extraordinary, but it is a predictably great meal with excellent service, and a view that lifts you out of your everyday life.

404 South Figueroa Street,
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 624-1000

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Perfect Place for an Anniversary

Today is my (Daughter of Food's) wedding anniversary and I am going to ask you for a present. Husband of Food is taking me somewhere special tonight. Where, you ask? I will save the blogging for after the fact, to keep the papparazzi away. So for a gift, please tell me, and all the Family of Food readers, what your favorite restaurants are for a special occasion.

It's easy to leave a comment, just click on the word "comments" beneath this post. You don't even have to leave your name or be registered. Just let us know what the best places to eat, anywhere in the world, for special occasion.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wait, you've got your Italian in my Thai!

This past weekend my husband and I wanted to grab some lunch out. Husband of Food loves Thai. Daughter of Food loves Italian. How could we possibly choose a lunch spot based on our favorite foods? It looked like the perfect time to try Thaitalian “Cooking Duet”.

We had never been to this restaurant before so we sought to maximize our fusion experience by ordering things that were a true combination of Thai and Italian cuisine. For an appetizer we had the Mozzarella Rolls. These were a spring roll wrap filled with Mozzarella cheese and dip of a spicy tomato sauce. Other than being incredibly hot (the mozzarella could be described as molten) coming out of the kitchen, they were quite tasty. We were also given an olive tapenade on toast as a starter. For our entrées we had the Pad Thai Pizza and the Thai Pesto Spaghetti. The Pizza had broccoli, green onions and pad Thai sauce, but the mozzarella cheese on the pizza was not melted enough. I still liked it quite a bit, it just could have been better. The spaghetti was really flavorful blending a pesto sauce with a bit of Thai chili and garlic. The bell peppers really hit the right note for me. The heat of the spice kept me from eating the whole plate, but someone with a heartier palette would have surely eaten it all. We had enough left over to make a nice meal for lunch the next day. Fusion restaurants are often a gimmick that while interesting, do not end up a go-to spot for regular meals. Thaitalian was pleasant enough that it just may make it into Family of Food’s rotation.

49 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 585-8808

Mom's Nght Out


Title.... "Two old people eating"

After watching " Food Glorious Food"

Father of Food took Mother of Food out for some gruel.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Food Glorious Food

Family of Food Glorious Food.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My nose won’t grow, but my belly will…

…If I keep going to Pinocchio’s in Burbank. Pinocchio’s is a pick-up-your-own-food cafeteria style restaurant and Italian Market (The Market side is called the Monte Carlo Deli). They have traditional Italian American dishes like pastas, sandwiches, and pizza. I almost always get the pasta, ravioli, or lasagna. The pasta prices are reasonable especially since the portions are large and include garlic bread. The deli-market side is recently expanded and there is a gelato bar which tempts me, but really I’ve never gotten to try it, because I am always so full from the food. The seating is plentiful in its three rooms and patio area and is comfortable for bringing in children and strollers. If you live in the area, I highly recommend it for picking up food and buying those Italian basics needed to make your grandma’s best friend’s cannoli recipe.

Monte Carlo Deli and Pinocchio’s
3103 W Magnolia BlvdBurbank, CA
Phone: (818) 845-3516

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Oh my - What a pie!

Last night I hit a big hand at video poker and decided to take the money and run. I then concluded the best use of some of the casino's dough would be to stop by Metro Pizza (previous blog 7/12/07) and pick up some fresh dough and go home and make a pizza for dinner. On the way from Metro to home we pass a MARIE CALLENDER'S. Mother of Food suggested we have some pie for dessert. Mother is a great sales person and i am an easy sale (mooch)-so we stopped. I then said surprise me. There are no bad pies at MARIE CALLENDER'S. After the pizza MoF brought in the pie.It was a srawberrrrry pie.The reason so many rs is to start to describe the enormous size of the strawberries. These were the largest strawberries I have ever seen. Piled high in a very fresh flaky crust, then covered with a sweet glaze. Oh my - what a pie! I hope you have a MARIE CALLENDER'S near you. We have several in Las Vegas.

I usually stop at : MARIE CALLENDER'S
4800 S. Eastern Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89119
702-458-2127 FAX 702-458-0795

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Oh, Fred.

Last night I landed in the arms of one of my favorite Freds, Fred's 62 that is. I try to tell people about the lesser known of the good restaurants in the LA area, but the secret has been out on Fred’s for a while. At most times of the day or night, Fred's 62 is busy if not packed with a line out the door. The reasons why it is so popular are many; an extensive and unusual menu, the best pancakes in the city (or maybe anywhere), and a friendly wait staff with the pithiest of t-shirt slogans. Where else in town can you get a bowl of spicy mac and cheese, a chili and onion omelet, and a bowl of udon (a Japanese noodle soup) all at four in the morning? The biggest problem I have going To Fred's 62 is deciding on what to order.

Last night I had an old favorite, Pancake Tatin – imagine the best pancake you've ever had, wrapped around an apple pie… only somehow, not heavy. I just can’t say enough about the pancakes. A couple of years ago I ended up at Fred’s on my birthday and I ventured into scary territory with the Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love Pancake: peanut butter, chocolate chips, banana, caramel sauce, and powdered sugar. Sounds too sweet, right? No Sir, it was incredible. To top it off, Husband of Food had The Super Rico (a crabcake-like sandwich made with tuna), which was so delicious, I may have to skip the pancakes next time.

Fred's 62
1850 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Thursday, July 26, 2007


OK, in the interest of fair disclosure, one of the Family of Foodies worked on this most food related of video games. She cooked up spicy virtual soup, tempting 3D petit fours, and decadent digital whipped cream. OK, that she was me, Daughter of Food. So in my own self interest, to celebrate the shipping of our delicious Video Game, I have added a link to the Ratatouille Video Game’s website and The Ratatouille Movie’s website on this blog’s Food as Art sidebar. Bon Appétit, to all you hungry gamers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Special Hint

A great way to experience special (pricey) restaurants is to find out if they serve lunch. The ambiance will be the same, the service just as good and the quality of the food can be tested and tasted. The lunch menu will normally be lighter both in fare and price. This summer one of our local favorites for over 20 years opened for lunch. The TILLERMAN located about 5 minutes east of the strip on Flamingo is probably the best lunch value in town. Some of the starters available are baby back ribs Asian style (father's fave) and jumbo coconut crunchy shrimp (mother's #1).

There is a nice selection of salads and sandwiches priced from ($7.50 to $12.00)
Sandwiches are served with a huge order of hand cut, freshly fried steak fries-so good! Other entrees range from ($9,50 - three egg cheese omelet to $22.00 - 180z. bone in New York steak).In between you will find pasta and seafood dishes. Now get this - during this summer lunch entrees are 2 for 1.

The TILLERMAN in the evening is known as one of the premier fresh fish and steak houses in Las Vegas. It is a very attractive and comfortable restaurant made up of several rooms plus a mezzanine area. We sat in the garden room, soaring ceilings, live trees and high backed chairs. I definitely felt I was going back to a more civilized and elegant time in dining. No rush-rush here.

The TILLERMAN is located:
2245 East Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV. 89119

Nothing to Report

Nothing to see here. The only thing that inspired me food wise this weekend was a fine Mexican meal made by Cousin of Food and Girlfriend of Cousin of Food. They whipped up 3 Salsas, Guacamole, excellent marinaded meats, warm tortillas, Spanish rice, and more. So unless Cousin of Food posts the place where the meat marinades were from, there is really nothing to see here. Thanks for the meal.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Two Alternatives to Versailles

Although it is far from Cuba, Los Angeles still has a number of good Cuban restaurants. If you are tired of waiting in line at the popular Los Angeles restaurant chain Versailles http://www.versaillescuban.com/ , you may want to try a couple of good alternatives.

El Criollo is a small Cuban oasis in the midst of the Van Nuys - North Hollywood borderland. The personal attention from the owner and staff are refreshing in this sunny but cold city. The plantains are delicious and the garlic chicken has more than enough garlic for even the most garlic loving of the family of food. My only complaint is that the bread is not good, but I have been told it is pretty traditional.

El Rincon Criollo is another solid Cuban restaurant. This restaurant is on Sepulveda in Culver City. The food here is very good and I gladly take lunch here when I get the chance.

Both places are casual and low priced.

El Criollo
13245 Victory BlvdVan Nuys, CA91401
(818) 508-0865

El Rincon Criollo
4361 Sepulveda BlvdCulver City, CA90230
(310) 391-4478

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dining Sicilian Style

We were driving, trying to figure out where to go for dinner when we passed THE SICILIAN CAFFE. It had opened about eight months earlier and mother of food and I had been meaning to try it out but hadn't made it yet. The sign outside read good Italian food with a Sicilian Flair. It should have read great not good. As we walked in Peter (Pietro) the owner greeted us. We walked by a table of antipasti . The welcome couldn't be warmer and the dishes looked very appetising. As we were seated hot bread was brought to our table. We started with an appetizer of Italian rice balls (arancini) served with a very special meat sauce. Then an order of fried mozzarella dipped in egg and bread crumbs served with marinara sauce. Nothing frozen or from a bottle here. The arancini were almost as big as a soft ball. We could have stopped here as these dishes were not only delish but also very satisfying. We decided to order more food with plans to take some home. Mother ordered the chicken francese (chicken breast dipped in egg and sauteed in a garlic, lemon white wine butter sauce.) I decided to try the personal pizza (enough for two). The dough was very good and the cheeses melted perfectly topped with pepperoni and sauteed mushrooms. With the dinner entrees you have a choice of soup or salad and either a vegetable or a side of pasta. Mother of Food chose salad (served nice and chilled with a house creamy Italian dressing) and the pasta.

We thought we were finished , when the table next to us sent us a platter of lobster parmigiana, veal milanese and batter fried veggies. We said we couldn't eat any more but they said taste a little and take the rest home. We already had two boxes of leftovers for later in the week. However not wanting to insult our new friends, mother and I accepted graciously and loved the few bites we had and look forward to the rest. Las Vegas has some very good Italian restaurants and I feel THE SICILIAN CAFFE is right up there with the best.

Thank you Peter for making us feel like family.

THE SICILIAN CAFFE is located at: 3520 Tropicana Ave. Ste#A
Las Vegas, Nv 89121

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hidden Treasure

There are excellent restaurants in Las Vegas one would never know about unless someone told you.

LOTUS OF SIAM is one of these. Johnathon Gold food critic for Gourmet magazine called it the best Thai restaurant in North America. That got my attention! This little gem of a restaurant is located in the Commercial Center about a mile East of the strip. I have never seen an ad for the restaurant and I am not sure if they are even listed in the phone book, but the word of mouth goodwill and advertising couldn't be any louder or stronger.

LOTUS OF SIAM is open for lunch and dinner. At lunch they have a small buffet but I would definitely recommend ordering a la carte from the menu to really enjoy the variety of dishes offered. At dinner ask about specials, the dishes are well described and the servers are very knowledgeable.

Some of my favorite dishes are the Mee Krob, Prawns in a blanket. fresh ginger dishes and a shrimp dish I had the last time I was there where the shrimp are served with the shells on the side deep fried. This was recommended by a couple from Los Angeles, there for the first time and couldn't stop raving about the food. For dessert fried banana , coconut ice cream and mango sticky rice. Yummmmy!

For dinner call to make a reservation.

953 E. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89104 (3/4 East of Sahara Hotel) Tel. (702)735-3033

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Give Me Some Soul

A few posts ago, a reader asked for Pizza recommendations in the South Bay. I haven't heard any yet, but I thought I might pass on a Soul Food reference not too far from the area. M&M Soul Food on Centinella Ave. may not look like much, but looks are not what this blog is about. Taste is the sense you want to bring with you to M&M’s. They specialize in Fried Chicken and Gravy, Mac and Cheese, Corn Bread, and all the sorts of things that can comfort food you into a coma. It’s not the healthiest meal, even their green beans could add a few pounds, but it’s well worth an extra jog around the track. I believe the M&M stands for mmmmm&mmmmmm.

M & M Soul Food (310) 215-8186
5496 W. Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045

Friday, July 13, 2007

a real cut up

Daughter of Food has become a real cut up.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


When most people move to a new city, they have certain priorities. They locate the nearest hospitals, a twenty-four hour pharmacy, a good supermarket, a dry cleaner, hair salon and so forth. I'm not most people! When I came to Las Vegas seven and half years ago, I asked the people I met "Who has the best pizza in town and where can I find some good barbeque?" This is what is important to me. I got a wide variety of pizza suggestions. Some were OK but none great. After a month or so I decided to get a job so I could keep eating. I went to work in marketing. On my rides to and from work up and down Tropicana Ave, I noticed a parking lot in front of METRO PIZZA was always crowded. This really impressed me since I was usually coming home after nine o'clock in the evening. So I told my lovely wife (Mother of Food) we have to try it out. Bingo - we hit the jackpot. Great pizza, super sandwiches and terrific salads. The wait staff is very friendly. The pizza is New york style but they do deep dish also. I also like to make my own pizzas at home, but I always buy fresh dough ready to spread from Metro.

METRO PIZZA is at the following Locations

Metro Pizza
1395 East Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada

Tropicana & Maryland Parkway (702) 736-1955

Metro Pizza
4001South Decatur Blvd. Las Vegas, Nevada

Renaissance Center West (702) 362-7896

Metro Pizza Green Valley
1420 W. Horizon Ridge ParkwayHenderson, Nevada

NW Corner of Stephanie & Horizon Ridge (702)458-4769

Learning to Cut

I acquired a skill last night that just may change my life. I learned to properly hold a chef’s knife. It may not sound like an Earth shaking experience, but as a person who has only once ever had to get stitches, and that for a particularly fierce battle with a particularly hard bagel, it is a giant step forward in my culinary existence. Yesterday evening I took my first cooking class, “Cooking Basics/Knife Skills” at Chez Cherie.

As lovers of good food, the members of our family can cook. Growing up, cooking was something like a competitive sport with Father of Food and Son of Food striving for more interesting and better dishes with little Daughter of Food trying to reach over their shoulders for scraps of food and knowledge. Where was Mom of Food at the time? Making the basics, French toast and grilled cheese, and as she does even today, acting as sous chef to Father of Food. The entire "of Food" Family would be proud of me today. I can slice an onion into the smallest of bits without my hands smelling afterward and easily create a chiffinade from fresh basil. Before yesterday I did not even know what a chiffinade was (a cut that looks like tiny ribbons, to save you the Google search); now I do and for that, I thank Cherie.

Cherie Mercer Twohy is the force behind Chez Cherie. She teaches her courses with several skilled assistants. In this course, she lectured for a bit then the students were split into several smaller groups to practice what she preached. I was in a group with Chris who helped me understand knife basics and hand positioning. We sliced and chopped veggies which were whisked away into a developing stir-fry that we ate as a reward for our work. It was all topped off with a dessert that Cherie made for us, a delicious tequila lime pie complete with much talk of lime zest. I came away from the night with a new knife, a sharpener, and confidence in my slice.

Now, to make your family proud, I will give you one tip of the many Cherie gave this night. After chopping an onion, rinse your hands with water and then rub them on something made of Stainless Steel. The steel makes a chemical reaction with the onion juice, eliminating the smell. This works for garlic and shrimp, too. Learn more for yourself. Chez Cherie is located at 1401 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, CA 91011.

Take a look at the Family of Food Map link on the Sidebar. We will try and map all of the places we talk about in the blog to make it easy for you to get the good food you’ve been looking for.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Beginning the blog.

Angelenos have two inexhaustible conversations; how travel by car from one part of Los Angeles to another and where this City of Angels hides a decent slice of pizza. This blog is going to focus on the Pizza conversation. Yes, Pizza with a capital P. Food is important in my family. Our highest cell phone bills can be traced back to this simple question, "What did you have for dinner?" We hope to thwart the profits of Verizon and Sprint by posting our answers to that question here.

There will be blogging about the tiny restaurants in the San Fernando Valley, as well as the rest of Los Angeles, from me, the Daughter, but as the Father begins his expression you will read of great fare from Las Vegas. I hope to also lure my New Yorker brother to the blog as he will bring East Coast flavors to life and if you've ever been to New York, you know that these flavors are worth reading about.

Now back to the Pizza conversation, it is sometimes hit and miss, but my best bet for Pizza in LA is Damiano's Mr. Pizza on Fairfax. I had a meatball pizza there about a decade ago, that I still dream about. This place is dark, dark, dark, except for the glare of the beer fridge. While the lack of light robs you of your eyesight and ability to read the menu, it enhanses your other senses and is perhaps why the tastes are so rich. Give it a try. 412 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

From the Valley, take Laurel Canyon over the hill to Fairfax, past Melrose. It's across the street from Canter's Deli. Or, take the 101 to and drive down Highland and cross over to Fairfax on any street before Melrose. Or maybe go over on Coldwater...

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